40-year minimum alternative to juvenile life sentences adopted

Senators passed a bill May 2 that expands sentencing options for juveniles convicted of Class IA felonies.

Introduced by Omaha Sen. Brad Ashford, LB44 establishes a new 40-year minimum sentencing option for a juvenile convicted of a Class IA felony.

The bill also establishes that offenders younger than 18 years old at the time that an offense was committed who were denied parole will be eligible for a parole hearing each year thereafter. The parole board must review and consider the juvenile’s:
• educational and court documents;
• level of participation in the offense;
• age at the time of the offense, level of maturity and intellectual capacity;
• ability to appreciate the risks and consequences of his or her conduct;
• efforts toward rehabilitation and participation in available rehabilitative and educational programs while incarcerated; and
• any other mitigating circumstance submitted by the juvenile.

The bill passed on a 38-1 vote.

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